June 17, 2022

Interisland Journey to some Biggs Killer Whales

Maxx K. | M/V Osprey | 06/17/2022 | 12:30pm

    Traveling inter-island is always a great time. It’s fun to wind the vessel through all the nooks and crannies that partition one island from the next. Each passing typically guarantees many glimpses of eagles and pelagic birds along the rocky shorelines. Furthermore, there’s always plenty of harbor seals hoisted out of the water and away from the looming threat of Bigg’s killer whales. 

    The crew was ecstatic even before boarding as rumors began to circulate of one particularly fun family of Bigg’s killer whales, the T137s moving slowly north along Orcas Island’s eastern shoreline. This family is fun and is made up of a 38 year old mother, Loon (T137) and her three children: Jack (T137A), Tempest (T137B), and Wright (T137D). 

    When we arrived on scene with them they continued pushing north, pressing hard against an ebbing tide. I can’t imagine how exhausting it must’ve been to move through that water. But they persevered, surfacing in union several times during our visit with them before descending on another dive through the churning currents. 

I often think this on my trips, but I wish I had x-ray vision. We only get to glimpse these incredible animals for the 5% of their lives that they're at the surfacing taking a breath. But what’s happening under the water? Perhaps they’re splitting up to forage the seascape for harbor seals or unaware porpoises. Perhaps they wander over to admire the underside of Osprey and they’re swimming beneath us right now. We just don’t know, and that’s what’s so exciting! 

We traveled with them for 20 minutes before turning back to begin our long voyage back home to Friday Harbor. We stopped once at the pea pod rocks to check out a smattering of harbor seals and a couple of eagles that loomed above them. It took another 45 minutes before we turned into the harbor, and finished off another fun day out on the Salish sea!